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Dark Tranquillity: Construct

Album Notes

"For Broken Words" begins with the lyric "It twists and turns into something that is not to be," which turns out to be a fairly apt description of Construct, the tenth long-player from Swedish melodic death metal legends Dark Tranquillity. An intoxicating amalgamation of all of the style shifts, themes, and assorted black hats that the band has worn over the last quarter-century, Construct will likely please and piss off longtime fans in equal measure. Less visceral and immediate than prior offerings like Gallery, Fiction, and to a lesser extent, 2010's divisive We Are the Void, Construct retains the chilly elegance of the band's best work while dialing back on the more punishing aspects, resulting in an expansive, world-weary, and windswept racket that sounds less like a marauding horde and more like a single, slow moving rouge wave laying waste to an unsuspecting, heavily populated shoreline. Initially, standout cuts like "The Science of Noise," "Weight at the End," "The Silence in Between," and the aforementioned "For Broken Words" stand out because they evoke classic DT, but further spins reveal subtle sonic nuances that in turn fuel further spins of less immediately engaging tracks like "Uniformity" and "Weight at the End," both of which end up being two of the strongest songs on the album, despite their clean vocal, goth-pop proclivities. In fact, Mikael Stanne's vocals have never sounded better (both guttural and clean), and while the band may have rounded off some its sharper edges, it certainly hasn't lost its ability to tear a hole in the sky, which after 25 years spent tending the fires in one of the most unrelenting of genres, is pretty remarkable. ~ James Christopher Monger



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